At 144 years old, Kanena Miso & Soy Sauce Brewery in Miyazaki Prefecture is still considered “new.”

“Most in the miso and soy sauce industry have been going for 300 or more years,” observes Yoko Nagatomo Shiomi, the current president and fourth generation of her family to lead the company. “We are seen as newcomers.”

Her great-grandparents started Kanena in 1877 to keep their two sons home from Japan’s Meiji Era (1868-1912) wars. Under Japanese law, eldest sons slated to take over a family did not have to go to war, so with one set to inherit the main family, the younger was given a new family name (records of which have since been lost) and the brewery.